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Suspended In Language: Niels Bohrs Life, Discoveries, And The Century He Shaped Paperback – Aug. 11 2009
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- Publisher : G.T. Labs; 2 edition (Aug. 11 2009)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0978803728
- ISBN-13 : 978-0978803728
- Item weight : 431 g
- Dimensions : 15.24 x 1.85 x 22.86 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #997,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The business of teaching physics is daunting. In my High School it was the single most feared course in the curricula. Because so much of it obtuse and bounded by difficult mathematics colleges commonly have special Physics for Poets classes. Add to that the fact that the boundaries of physics have moved from the visually demonstrable, such as action and reaction to the obviously impossible action at a distance; absent both higher math and a very focused mind and a student can be reduced to merely taking the lectures on trust.
Action at a distance, which this books demonstrates as a proven fact involves actual experiments wherein two matched particles are moved very far apart and an induced change in the properties of one is reflected by a change in the properties of the other. There is nothing in conventional, non-quantum physics that can explain this result and a necessary implication is the end of cause and effect. I cannot recommend that you take this a proof that a human does not need a parachute or similar device to safely jump from an airplane flying at altitude. In fact there is a very short, mentioned one time comment that that cause and effect still seems to operate at levels above the sub atomic.
When the reader is not being directed to jump ahead to read up on something in the text or to shift back while an earlier situation is explained, Suspended in Language does several things well. A large cast of mathematicians and physicists; their scientific contributions and something of their fates is presented. A surprising amount of very difficult material is rendered comprehensible and the complete package is not boring. All these people and events occur during the rise of Nazi Germany and World War II. This historic context is important to the story of these people and how they came to be involved in the development of the Atomic Bomb. This too is managed by Ottaviani and Purvis.
Very few physics teachers have the luxury of presenting the thinkers behind the theories as humans. Suspended in Language is at it best in helping the reader to understand the people as well as their science. Neils Bohr formost but many others are presented as real people and not just producers of abstract thought. Something of the politics of academia and of international science is also likely to be new points of view for the reader.
Page for page much of the artwork is beautiful. Unfortunately it can also be cluttered and confusing. If a picture needs to be footnoted to explain that a pictured event never happened or that people drawn into a scene were not part of that discussion, then that pictures and text are unnecessary of counterproductive.
There is much to learn and much to admire about Suspended in Language. Unfortunately there is also too much that is unnecessary or misdirecting.
The lesson I seized from that book is that the language build the way we see the world. The world as itself is not in front of our eyes purely, we must have the language to circumscribe it. Everything just exist for us if we have the language to explain, to talk about it.
I realy like reading it.